SHIRLEY -- The indoor mini-golf tournament the Friends of Hazen Memorial Library is hosting on Sunday, Feb. 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be a family-friendly event with a dual purpose, Library Director Deb Roy said.

As a dedicated fundraiser, the aim is to net $800 to buy a professional disc-cleaning machine to maintain the library's circulating collection of audio and video discs. The collection will last longer and play better when cleaned regularly with a device designed to do it effectively and efficiently, Roy said in a recent interview.

In the works since last spring, the mini-golf event also aims to bring folks into the library who might not have been there for awhile, she said, giving new and returning visitors a chance to see what the modern facility has to offer these days, including books, audio books, periodicals, DVDs, CDs and a big, bright main room with lots of windows, handsomely furnished with work tables and comfy reading chairs.

In addition to helpful staff, there are also several computer stations for public use, a cheery children's room with plenty of books and toys and a function room that can also serve as an art gallery or after-school activity venue (Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School is just across the way on the other side of Hospital Road.



Groups of up to four golfers who pay $2 per person or $10 per family to putt their way through the mini-golf course can also look around and get a feel for the library and maybe start to feel at home. The layout winds through "every nook and cranny of the building," Roy said.

Like the popular after-hours galas held in special spaces such as museums where guests get to amble through exhibits without the usual traffic, those who come to the mini-golf event might get a kick out of being in the library on a Sunday, when it's usually closed.

In the spirit of fun and games, stand-up cardboard images of the Three Stooges will be stationed at the entrance door as event greeters, with photo ops available, Roy said.

Once guests are inside and duly registered, the 18-hole mini-golf course awaits, with tee-off times from 11-4 p.m.

Tracing its genesis, Roy said she and the Friends "dreamed it up last April" and have been planning it ever since. Targeting February vacation for the event, they hit the mark.

But why mini golf, inside the library no less?

Roy said there's no shortage of creative ideas when it comes to sparking public interest, keeping the library collection current and its equipment up with the times.

It started when a company called "Mobile Mini Golf," owned and operated by Joe Buckley, of Norfolk, Mass., reached out. They were doing a fundraiser at the Grafton library and extended an invitation, Roy said.

As it turned out, nobody from the Shirley library attended, but she later spoke with the other director, who said the mini-golf tourney was a big success and so was the company.

Based on that glowing review, the Friends called Buckley, who came in to do a layout. He said the library was a good fit and even helped with fundraising ideas, Roy said.

Letters went out to local businesses and others. Responses came in with donations.

The list so far includes Bemis Corporation, Bigelow Plumbing and Heating, Golden Girl (Granola) Products, Family Tree Home Care, Turf Logic and Wonderful World of Children. In addition, a generous anonymous donation was made in memory of former town librarian Lucy Longley, whose portrait hangs in the library today. Their generosity helped make the event a success ahead of time, Roy said, and the Friends are grateful to all who donated. "We'll have a special commemoration," for Mrs. Longley, she said.